April 17, 2014
4:54 pm

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Former flats residents say goodbye to homes as practice burns begin

Ottawa, Ill. -- As fire fighters set and put out fires for practice this week, people who used to live in the center Ottawa flats are giving their final goodbyes to the homes they sold during the last flood buyout.
     Howard and Pam Sibert lived on the northeast corner of Hudson and Calumet streets. That’s the corner opposite the east end of the Marquette football field.
     The Siberts recall a neighborhood where neighbors were friends and people left their doors unlocked. After living there 41 years, they have trouble getting used to living in a different part of town.
     The Siberts live on the west side now. They hope to have at least one more “flats picnic” with their former neighbors who still live in town.
     About three dozen people in the increasingly flood prone flats sold their homes in a flood buyout in 1996 and 1997. The city cleared those homes and created Fox River Park.
     The Siberts’ home and eight others will be burned or torn down and made part of the park too.
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Location : Ottawa
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